On November 15, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program released its Annual Report to Congress for the 2021 fiscal year. The report reveals that the program broke a number of fiscal year records, including the number of whistleblower awards issued, the total dollar amount awarded to whistleblowers, and the number of whistleblower tips received.
During the 2021 fiscal year, the SEC awarded approximately $564 million to 108 individuals – both of which are fiscal year records. The previous records for both figures were set in the 2020 fiscal year when the SEC awarded approximately $175 million to 39 individuals. In fact, the SEC issued more whistleblower awards in the 2021 fiscal year than in all previous years combined.
In the 2021 fiscal year, the SEC also set the record for its largest single whistleblower award with a $114 million award issued in October 2020. During the 2021 fiscal year, the SEC also issued the second and third largest awards in program history: a $110 million award in September 2021 and a $50 million award in April 2021.
The SEC Whistleblower Program also processed more whistleblower award claims and issued more Final Orders in the 2021 fiscal year than in any other year of the program. The SEC issued 318 Final Orders for individual award claims and processed 354 claims to Preliminary Determination or Preliminary Summary Disposition.
Over the course of the 2021 fiscal year, the SEC received a record number of whistleblower tips. The agency received over 12,200 whistleblower tips – a 76% increase over the previous record set in the 2020 fiscal year. The tips originated from 99 different countries and all 50 states.
“The success of the Commission’s whistleblower program in landmark FY 2021 demonstrates that it is a vital component of the Commission’s enforcement efforts,” said Acting Chief of the Office of the Whistleblower Emily Pasquinelli in the report’s opening remarks. “We hope the awards made this year continue to encourage whistleblowers to report specific, timely, and credible information to the Commission, which will enhance the agency’s ability to detect wrongdoing and protect investors and the marketplace.”
“The SEC’s Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower program has revolutionized the detection and enforcement of securities law violations,” said whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto. “Congress needs to pay attention to this highly effective anti-corruption program and enact similar laws to fight money laundering committed by the Big Banks, antitrust violations committed by Big Tech, and the widespread consumer frauds often impacting low income and middle class families who are taken advantage of by illegal lending practices, redlining, and credit card frauds.”
“The report documents that whistleblowing works, and works remarkably well, both in the United States and worldwide,” continued Kohn. “The successful efforts of the SEC to use whistleblower-information to police Wall Street frauds is a milestone in the fight against corruption. Every American benefits from this program.”